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School fired woman for calling book racist

July 16, 2012 at 12:02 PM

DUBUQUE, Iowa, July 16 (UPI) -- An Iowa teacher's aide was fired for allegedly disrupting classes to tell students Mark Twain's novel "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" is racist.

Records released last month show Naiya Galloway, 31, was fired from her job at Hillcrest Family Services, a private K-12 school, after telling a classroom in October that "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" was a racist book and should not be taught in schools, the Des Moines (Iowa) Register reported Sunday.

State records show Galloway, who worked at the school for six months in 2011, also became upset when a teacher talked about the Ku Klux Klan in a class discussion on historical and political events.

After being terminated from the school, which specializes in teaching students with mental health issues or behavior problems, Galloway applied for unemployment, which was denied by administrative law judge James Timberland on May 29, records show.

"Rather than working to minimize students' behavior issues so that they could learn in an appropriate environment, Ms. Galloway fed into the students' behavior issues and disrupted the educational process," Timberland ruled.

At the hearing, Timberland noted he has a master's degree in English literature.

"So when I hear that 'Huck Finn' is racist, my immediate response -- having studied literature and having studied that particular piece of literature and theory about it -- is, 'Of course it's racist,'" Timberland said at the hearing. "Part of the idea was to point out, through that book, that it was racist. It's about racism."

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